Friends of mine have wondered how the terrorist attack on the Paris satirical paper, Charlie Hebdo earlier this week, has affected me. As a cartoonist I draw what I think is funny. I don't intentionally attack anyone. I generally refrain from creating political or religious statements. I'm a gag cartoonist. I make myself laugh and hopefully a couple of other people along the way. I know my stuff is not for everyone and I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that find my work offensive but it would never occur to me that someone would want to shoot me over a stupid cartoon.
This week, I was made aware of just how real that possibility is. Like most people in America I take my free speech for granted and it takes a horrible act like this shooting to get my attention and really think about how lucky I am to live in a democracy. More than that, it makes me realize that freedom is not free. It's not a cliche, it's the truth. We may not be fighting with muskets and bayonets like the sons of liberty who formed this nation but we are fighting in our words and our deeds: every day and in every election.
Would I lay down my life to defend these liberties? I would.
I'm not eager to die but if I get killed over some cartoon I drew, then whatever I said was worth saying. I have no regrets. You may not like what I have to say but I have the inalienable right to say it.
Je Suis Charlie.